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In the wake of the Valentine’s day Florida High School massacre, I am deeply disturbed by what I see as the growing politicizing of education. Case in point: according to a Facebook post by Ravalli County Representative Theresa Manzella: “It’s become painfully obvious the teachers union is working against our constitution and for socialism and communism.” Wait. What?

From what I see, our hard-working teachers don’t exactly have the time or the inclination to be plotting a communist takeover of America.

I am furthered dismayed by insinuations that the young people speaking up across America in the wake of tragedy are somehow pawns or paid/scripted actors. These falsehoods assume our students don’t have the intelligence or wherewithal to form opinions and express ideas on their own. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe expressing an opinion on a subject is the prerequisite of any school writing assignment?

Politicizing education is a dangerous and slippery slope. When we demonize intelligence, we risk bankrupting our future. Education is not an ‘us vs. them’ scenario. We all benefit. Our country will only thrive and prosper through the investment in well educated, forthright kids.

– Marci Smith, Victor